Theme Of Realism In Oliver Twist

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In mid-19th century England, realistic literature came as a response to the preceding romantic period. The romantic period was known to emphasize the experiences of the individual and was regarded as a highly aesthetic period. It was related with the movement of sensibility or sentimentalism, which stressed the importance of emotions and feelings of sympathy (Kitson 328-329). Contrarily, realism during the Victorian age aimed to address economic and social issues in society by depicting the struggles in the developing society as accurately as possible (Redd). Consequently, in the 1830s, when Charles Dickens was writing Oliver Twist, it is justifiable that elements of both realism and romanticism can be found in the novel. This paper serves to investigate the sentimental aspects as well as the contrasting realistic aspects in Oliver Twist. Undoubtedly, these two effects are paradoxical; while realism is meant to show the harsh and filthy living and working conditions of the poor population, sentimentalism deals with emotions and triggers compassion from the readers. To combine these two techniques causes mixed feelings amongst readers. Are they supposed to be shocked by the social situation? Or are they supposed to be moved with sweet and sympathetic emotions? I chose this topic because whilst reading the book, the realistic scenes in some chapters contrasted strongly with sentimental scenes in others. I found it interesting how the author created realistic and
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